Read The King of Diamonds by Simon Tolkien Online


A sophisticated mystery layered with dark secrets from the past, and slow-burning suspense. It’s 1960, and David Swain is two years into his life sentence for murdering the lover of his ex-girlfriend, Katya Osman. In the dead of night, David escapes from prison, and that same night Katya is found murdered in her uncle’s home, Blackwater Hall.Inspector Trave of the OxfordA sophisticated mystery layered with dark secrets from the past, and slow-burning suspense.It’s 1960, and David Swain is two years into his life sentence for murdering the lover of his ex-girlfriend, Katya Osman. In the dead of night, David escapes from prison, and that same night Katya is found murdered in her uncle’s home, Blackwater Hall.Inspector Trave of the Oxford Police, last seen in The Inheritance, heads the manhunt for David, whom he first brought to justice two years earlier. But Trave’s suspicions lead him to Katya’s uncle Titus Osman, a rich diamond dealer, and his sinister brother-in-law, Franz Claes, who has gone to great lengths to hide his former ties with the Nazis. However, Trave’s motives are suspect - Osman is having an affair with Trave’s estranged wife, Vanessa, and a newcomer to the Oxford Police, Inspector Macrae, is eager to exploit Trave's weaknesses to further his own ambition.  Caught up in his superiors’ rivalry, Trave's young assistant, Adam Clayton, finds himself uncertain who is right and which side to choose. Once David is captured and put on trial for his life, Trave is willing to risk everything that is dear to him—professionally and personally—to pursue his obsessive belief in Osman’s guilt.In this expertly crafted follow-up to his acclaimed novel The Inheritance, Simon Tolkien has once again written a gripping and nuanced thriller laced with historical detail, treachery, and his signature writing style—a uniquely suspenseful blend that the Los Angeles Times called “half Christie and half Grisham.”The King of Diamonds is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Mysteries title....

Title : The King of Diamonds
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312539085
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The King of Diamonds Reviews

  • Roger Scherping
    2018-12-09 00:50

    This is the second of Tolkien's books I've read. He writing is clear, the characters unique, and the plot well developed. So why do I find his books so boring? The plots are too predictable, with no twists and turns. The characters are also predictable; Franz Claes's first name might as well have been Villain it was so obvious that he was evil. It's like his books are just too plodding, detailed and predictable. You can see how the story will end long before the climax. Another part of this book left me puzzled. If her diary gave Katya away, then why did Franz allow her to hide it again, resulting in his downfall?

  • Sue Munson
    2018-12-13 01:39

    Perhaps my favorite Inspector Trave bookI've read several of Tolkien's books and enjoyed them all, but this seems to have everything--murder, deceit, conspiracy, and a cracking good finish. The inspector is intelligent, humane and human. He notices when seemingly small things don't add up and seeks resolution, not just a collar. It's good to see the supposed perpetrator mature in the course of his troubles, too. A good read!

  • Linette Allen
    2018-11-23 22:02

    Had high expectations, but Tolkien's grandson disappointed with too much "telling" and a style that felt a bit amateurish.

  • Nici Jones
    2018-11-24 19:52

    Brilliant stuff!

  • Chuck Ledger
    2018-12-17 23:39

    Much better than the first in the series.

  • Shannon
    2018-12-14 01:43

    This is a dynamic court-room/puzzler book with overtones of TV's Inspector Lewis and his Sergeant sidekick. It takes place in Oxford during the years 1958-1961 and while it doesn't appear to be about WWII, that is what is really behind it all, even though the crucial events took place 15 to 20 years previously. The plot involves a young man who is framed for murder not once, but twice, at the same mansion by the same shady people, presumably Belgian refugees who made it out of Antwerp with just the dozens of diamonds sewn into their clothes! While Inspector Trave ( I do not love his name!) strives diligently to clear the young man, David Swain, it is hard to feel too much pity for the accused since he plays right into the hands of the conspirators by being furious all the time and willing to kill, had he not always been beaten to the actual punch, so to speak. The plot is thickened by having Inspector Trave's estranged wife the object of desperate love of one of the questionable people at Blackwater Hall, a device I found hard to swallow, since she is your average or common variety (as they would say!) Englishwoman and he is a sophisticated, international diamond dealer with lots of money and contacts. I found the last half of the book a bit overlong and dragging. Also, the big "secret" when it finally comes to light is anti-climactic and splutters its way across the page rather than being the big "reveal" we are led to expect. Aside from those issues, the writing is well-done and kept me turning the pages, even when they seemed interminable, and the end was satisfying.

  • Mary
    2018-12-04 18:57

    A really good read.

  • Pat
    2018-11-23 22:53

    Three stars doesn't seem enough. It is well written.

  • Delia Binder
    2018-11-25 22:38

    Quickly then - it manages to be both relentlessly downbeat and dull, and turns the hunt for Nazi War Criminals and the valuables they stole from Jews into an uninteresting policier. Inspector Trave has none of the character traits that make similar British detectives like Inspectors Morse, Alleyn or Linley worth reading about, and his ex-wife's affair with A Certain Foreign Gentleman who (view spoiler)[turns out to be a Criminal Mastermind (hide spoiler)] is as narratively convenient as it is ultimately xenophobic and snobbish. (There's a particular variety of snobby xenophobia that is, in its own way, as British as Fish&Chips, bad dental work, and Doctor Who....)...or The Lads on BBC's TOP GEAR! Yes, That's the Same "Jeremy Clarkson" Who Got Suspended For Punching His Producer Over a Lack of Catering....Worse, the conspiracy that drives the book's action is one of those Rube Goldberg Machines so beloved of A Certain Type of Mystery Writer -I Speak Disparagingly of "Unbelievable Conspiracies", and - Lo! CASTLE Is Manifest!the kind that has far too many elements that, if one doesn't do its part perfectly, the entire thing breaks down. (As ultimately happens here.) The conspiracy revolves around getting rid of people Who Know Too Much, and framing some poor mope for both crimes - and involves a jailbreak, a con man, a wrong cop, and another subordinate constable who needs to let himself be led by the nose. Inspector Trave, being the detective-hero, naturally smells a rat, but he's forced to Work Outside The Law - because somehow, if his job isn't threatened the stakes aren't high enough! Pity I didn't really care anywayIt's natural for human beings to feel empathy for the plight of another - unfortunately, it's also natural for human beings to find an escalation of bad things past a certain point so absurd as to be comic. In the case of David Swain (the mope), he comes off as such an utter patsy that, rather than invoking our sense of empathy, he invokes our contemptuous laughter as a schlimazel - the terminally unlucky guy of Yiddish comedy. Or LI'L ABNER's Joe BtfsplkHis character is nothing but a negative choice from start to finish - he's dragged along on the aforementioned jailbreak, handed (view spoiler)[a gun that can be used as evidence against him when he's inevitably caught again (hide spoiler)], and goes off to confront his ex-girlfriend - (view spoiler)[who's already dead, and he's just stepping right into a bespoke frame-up job! (hide spoiler)] The Prosecutor, Sir Laurence Arne, should rightly be working to convict him for Terminal Stupidity rather than anybody's death....Simon Tolkien is JRR Tolkien's grandson - but don't let that encourage you to read this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Linda
    2018-12-10 19:56

    In the U.S., “post war” meant post World War II, but largely referred to the late 1940s and early 1950s. By 1960, the U.S. had moved on – through Korea, into Viet Nam, and a whole new generation was coming: Camelot was around the corner, and the middle class was on the rise.But in England – where THE KING OF DIAMONDS largely takes place – “post war” was a concept that lasted well into the early 1960s. Signs of the Blitz lingered in London, with scars from bombings in the surrounding areas. The economy continued to struggle. Distinct class separations remained, foreigners were often regarded with suspicion, and the death sentence was still in use.Tolkien has set THE KING OF DIAMONDS in an interesting time period, 1958-1961 – an interim period of sorts -- and created a suspenseful story that weaves elements of the traditional police procedural with those of the gothic romance and even the international thriller.The gothic romance begins with a lovely young woman writing in her secret diary, convinced that her wealthy uncle and his scarred and menacing brother-in-law are trying to kill her, while keeping her locked up on a beautiful country estate. With the aid of a thief and gambler, a murderer convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend’s lover escapes from a nearby prison. Upon his escape, the murderer makes his way to the estate, intent on seeing his former girlfriend, who just happens to be the lovely young diary-keeper. Angry at her betrayal and armed with a gun, he makes his way to the girl’s room. Shots are fired, the girl is killed, the con escapes…And thus the traditional police procedural begins. Enter Inspector Traves of the Oxford Police, a man of integrity but somewhat jaded, and his young assistant, Constable Clayton, inexperienced but intelligent and eager to prove himself. Tolkien has captured almost perfectly the atmosphere and tone of the novels from the 1960s – Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, Helen MacInnes and the like. When the scarred henchman and the wealthy handsome foreigner enter the story, it’s not surprising. But it is intriguing to see how Tolkien plays the bitter policeman against the rich landowner. He makes it work, bringing in first political infighting within the police force, then an element of international intrigue element through the zealous brother of the first murder victim (the dead girl’s Jewish boyfriend). Then, just to keep things interesting, we get one more romantic twist.THE KING OF DIAMONDS is suspenseful and engaging, weaving three different plot lines in a beguiling and convincing fashion — if it falls short, it does so with its ending, which disappointed me with its heavy-handedness. But the ride along the way is worth it: the characters are well-drawn, the plotting complex but not convoluted, and the time period and setting evocative of a by-gone era.

  • Mark
    2018-11-21 20:43

    With such a name, drawn from an illustrious heritage, one expects great things. No magical tales here, no golden rings or underground caves, however we do find our share of monstrous Nazis, hidden diamonds and damsels in distress.The tale, set in Britain in 1960, has Inspector Trave of the Oxford constabulary investigating two murders at Blackwater Hall, both allegedly committed by young David Swain, the jilted lover of young Katya. The first murder was the new boyfriend, out of jealousy and the second, for which Swain had to breakout of prison to commit, the revenge killing of Kaya herself.Trave, who is the lead detective, refuses to remove himself from the investigation even though the owner of Blackwater Hall is now courting his soon to be ex-wife and indeed seems to be going out of his way antagonize the family. This period tale reads more like England in the stilted era of the thirties more than the country of loosening mores of the sixties. Without the references to the happenings of Nazi Germany one might be forgiven to think they where reading about circumstances after the Great War, however in no way does this period-mixing detract from the grand storyline that has Tolkein sweeping us away with its telling.With a trail of blood diamonds from Antwerp, two Jewish brothers seeking the truth of what happened to their parents and a trail that leads to the concentration camps of Mechelen, Belgium, Tolkien leads us on the familiar and mysterious path of deceit, revenge and betrayal.

  • Caitlin
    2018-11-30 21:59

    Simon Tolkien is the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien (which must be a nightmare in a way if you're an author, too). Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about his book.The King of Diamonds is a very British, very Gothic, but nuanced thriller - more Patricia Highsmith than Agatha Christie for sure. There are shades of Jane Eyre here, too - or of any other tale that involves someone locked in an attic with an evil caretaker. This time that someone ends up dead.I liked this book for all those elements - add in Nazis, a jealous and vengeful lover, and the ickiest weirdest family ever and you've got a fun read.This book also has two things that I love - a sense of place and a sense of its place in time. Set in the late fifties/early sixties in Oxford you can feel everything poised on the precipice of change. It's easy to imagine linoleum floors in the kitchen, a Sunday roast in the oven.My one criticism is that things move just a tad too slow in the beginning. While this feels right for the setting and time, it makes it a little more difficult to engage as a reader. That said it was great fun.

  • Rich
    2018-11-27 20:45

    Story takes place in 1960 England, with an indirect but critical connection to the holocaust. The author draws the reader into sympathy with several characters, especially the Investigator, Trave, and his estranged wife, Vanessa. The story is resolved in terms of the murders themselves and the background links for the “bad guys,” but the realistic ending of the relationship between Trave and Vanessa is not fully resolved, but leaves the reader with hope in the mending of a broken relationship. Quite realistic portrayal of how things can spiral out of control; that ending normally would be unsatisfying, but because it is more realistic than “life ever after” it becomes understandable and acceptable.Good reading.

  • Al
    2018-12-13 19:00

    It's 1960, and David Swain is two years into his life sentence for murdering the lover of his ex-girlfriend, Katya. In the dead of night, David escapes, and Katya is found murdered. Inspector Trave of the Oxford Police heads the manhunt for David. Trave's suspicions lead him to Katya's uncle Titus Osman, a rich diamond dealer, and his sinister brother-in-law, Franz Claes who will go to any lengths to conceal his past connections to the Nazis. But Trave's motives are suspect - Osman is having an affair with Trave's estranged wife. Once David is captured, Trave is willing to risk everything-professionally and personally-to pursue his obsessive belief in Osman's guilt.

  • Jan
    2018-11-28 20:49

    Simon Tolkien is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien. That's why I originally read his first book Final Witness. I enjoyed this book as much as the first.

  • Laure
    2018-11-29 18:50

    Mystery by the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. It dealt in part with the treatment of Belgian Jews during WWII, which was of particular interest to me, being from Belgium. It was somewhat shocking to read about how the Belgian government was complicit in the deportation of Jews to Germany.

  • Kelly Baroletti
    2018-12-13 20:54

    Once again- I really couldn't tell where this would end up! Love this author!

  • Denise
    2018-11-27 00:38

    3.5 a good thriller.

  • Johanna
    2018-11-24 00:00

    A little on the slow side. I liked his first book better.

  • Sarah Chaffin
    2018-11-26 00:44

    FascinatingIt kept pulling me into the story and I couldn't help but be on the edge of my seat the whole time. Very good read.

  • David Caligaris
    2018-12-11 02:36

    started out sorta slow, and i was not thinking i'd like it, then it picked up and I indeed enjoyed it. I think 3.5 stars is right on but i gave it 4 of 5.

  • Linda
    2018-12-11 23:36

    I DO like his writing.

  • Suzan Pinciotti
    2018-12-10 20:48

    ST never disappoints. This is another page turner!

  • Maria
    2018-11-27 00:55

  • Vera Brandão
    2018-11-20 23:54

  • Barb
    2018-11-21 02:58

    enjoyed every page, even though at times a little slow. great plot, interesting subplots, very likable flawed characters, jrr's grandson is author

  • Shirley
    2018-12-04 01:01

    On Nook. June 2011. Second book by Tolkien. Murder mystery with overlay of sexual violence. Typical Tolkien in that obvious perpetrator is not the villain.